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Esther 7

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Haman Hanged (ch. 7:1 - 10) 


There are a couple of things to note in verses 1 and 2.  First is the drinking of wine.  Persians were well known for their wine drinking back then.  They drank a lot.


The other thing to note is that Xerxes hasn't forgotten that he believes Esther has something to ask him, which she hasn't done yet.  He again states that he will give her up to half of the kingdom to her.  All he needs to know is what she wants.  As I said earlier, the idea that the king would give half the kingdom to her was an idiom of the day.  You can't take that literally.  Most all scholars believe this to be idiomatic.


We see Esther's reply in verse 3.  She is finally going to tell the king what she wants.  Note that she, the king's wife, addresses the king with great respect by calling him king and majesty.  There is both respect and fear seen in Esther.  Even the queen, the wife of the emperor, could not be too familiar to the emperor. 


We see that Esther did not want money or any other material thing.  She wanted "her life".  This must have confused Xerxes a bit.  I don't think he would have had any clue what she was talking about.  She, as far as he knew, was not in danger of losing her life.


She goes on to say, "spare my people".  I doubt still that Xerxes caught on to what she was talking about.  There is no hint in the book of Ruth that Xerxes knew that Esther was a Jew, so he wouldn't know what she was talking about.


In verse 4 Esther tells the king that her people have been sold for destruction, slaughter, and annihilation.  You might ask what it means by "being sold'.  Haman was willing to pay lots of money, as we saw earlier, for the annihilation of the Jews. 


Esther continues by saying if her people were to be simply sold into slavery, she would not have bothered the king with such a trivial thing.  You and I would not call being sold into slavery as being trivial, but back then, as not trivial as it might have been, you would not bother the king with such a thing.  Again, you see the respect, even fear, that Esther had for Xerxes.


In verse 5 Xerxes asks the only question that could be asked.  "Who is the man who would do such a thing".  I think at this moment Haman would have been crushed.  I think he knew now that his days were numbered.  His whole life was now crashing to the ground.  Once the second most important man in all Persia will soon be executed.


Verse 6 is the clincher.  Esther answers by saying, "the adversary and enemy is Haman".  Esther just pierced Haman's heart with a figurative sword.  We can't imagine how proud Haman felt now. The text says that "Haman was terrified".  Pride really does go before a fall.


In verse 7 we see that Xerxes left his wine and went into the garden.  This is typical when someone is suddenly stunned with information they knew nothing of.  People get up, walk it off, and think things over.  He had no idea that his wife, the queen, was a Jew, and he was the one who decreed to destroy the Jews, and it was all because of Haman.  He was between a rock and a hard place, but there was nothing he could do other than to dispose of Haman.


Haman stayed inside to persuade Esther to save his life.  I doubt if Esther had ever given that a second thought.  The proud man is now groping for help.  The scene would have looked very pitiful.


In verse 8 we see that the king returns to see Haman on the couch with Esther.  The text states that the king thought that Haman is molesting Esther, which would have given him an immediate reason to have Haman executed.  I'm not sure that Haman was molesting Esther.  He might well have been so upset that he pounced on her in fear and was pleading with her for help.  Whatever the case, Xerxes took his actions as molestation.  Therefore, the king's servants covered Haman's head and took him away.  The covering of Haman's head is something they did back then when someone was led away to be killed.  It's like us covering a dead body today.  As soon as Haman's head was covered, he would have known it was all over for him.  There was no escaping death.  Certain Muslims in the middle east still do this today.


The chapter ends by Haman being "hung" on the "gallows" he had made for Mordecai to be hung on.  How ironic.  As I said earlier, the word "gallows' here should not be understood as westerners understand gallows, and, Haman wasn't exactly hung.  Bible teachers say that what really happened in Persia back then was that people, in this case Haman, were impaled by a big stick and then place on some kind of platform and lifted into the air for all to see.  This was meant to be both a punishment and a warning to others.  This type of execution is the forerunner to Roman style crucifixion, the way Jesus died. 


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